Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Immortals’ Cody “Cody Sun” Sun during Week 1 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series. They talked about Immortals’ 2-0 upset of Team SoloMid, his team’s roster changes and streaming and content creation as a pro player.
Andrew Kim: Congratulations on the 2-0 start and the 2-0 victory over TSM. As a person who’s been on the Immortals roster from the spring split, a lot of attention has been going in on the bottom lane, and to be able to have this kind of remarkable development and improvement in your own performance. How do you feel about your own performance?
Cody “Cody Sun” Sun: For me personally, I think I’ve improved a lot since the beginning obviously, since I was a rookie. Now since I’m pretty confident in my own play, I can even help with rotations and macro shot-calling, or calling targets when I’m Varus or Ashe. For the bottom lane, Olleh (Kim Joo-sung) and I are definitely super confident. Honestly, we’re not scared of anyone right now. We pretty much just play the same against any bottom lane and we’re confident that we can just beat them in any matchup really, even if it’s a losing matchup. We also got Stunt (William Chen) as a sub, and we’ve also been scrimming with Stunt as well, and I think Stunt and I have a pretty different style than Olleh plus me. You guys can look out for whenever we use Stunt.
AK: One of the things that seemed to be plaguing Immortals — at least last split — was communication issues, as people weren’t being vocal enough or the team would be very quiet overall. It shows in your performance that the team’s become much more communicative as team. How has that journey been to where you guys are right now?
CS: With the transfer between junglers, Jake (“Xmithie” Puchero) definitely brings a different mentality since he’s a more experienced guy where he’s also really mature, and he has pretty good leadership qualities. Like Eugene (“Pobelter” Park) said, he brings us together, and anything he says we just listen to it indefinitely because we all have this trust in Jake. I think with that change, it benefitted us a lot.
AK: One of the questions I have to ask you about is Riot’s decision to remove relegation for a franchising system. A lot of conversations among the community says that the removal of relegation is good or bad. Do you have any opinions about the topic?
CS: I think the removal of relegation is pretty good for the scene as a whole. I think other people said this before, but since teams are always afraid of relegations, they’re more inclined to look for the best roster immediately instead of trying to develop NA talent. With this new system, not only does this make it safer for the orgs, it allows them to just look for more NA talent. You can have more English speakers in the LCS.
AK: Another interesting thing that happened was Echo Fox’s decision to only scrim their sister team and then they announced that a bunch of former players and current full time streamers would be part of the Challenger scene. Do you think this kind of management strategy of scrimming with the sister team so that strategy doesn’t get leaked will work in NA?
CS: They announced their Challenger team with all these streamers and ex-pros, but they also have a five-man substitute for the LCS team, so rather than just scrimming only the streamers in the Challenger team, they also obviously scrim their substitute players. In terms of scrimming only your sister team, you don’t have stress. I don’t really know if that’ll be too beneficial. It’s kind of a new idea and no one has really tried it yet so it’s hard to say, but with new patches and new meta champions, scrimming a bunch of teams is pretty helpful to just get a good grasp of the patch.
AK: In North America, streaming is part of gaming culture for sure. Apart from the whole revenue side of it, it seems like something that a lot of people expect of people who play video games to do. If you were to transition to just full-time streaming, what would be some of the conditions that you would have to meet to make that choice?
CS: I would have to get a good amount of concurrent views. Right now, I don’t have that many. I get a good amount when I get hosted, so check out my stream. If you can average a couple thousand viewers, like 4K, 5K viewers, and then you can make YouTube content on the side, I think that’s pretty good and sustainable.
AK: Do you think having that level of streaming and YouTube content creation while being a pro player is possible?
CS: For Immortals, we have mandatory streaming hours, so everyone streams a decent amount every month, and if you can get an editor to edit your Twitch VODs for a YouTube channel, you don’t need to do that much, really. It could potentially take away from your practice time, but I don’t think it’s that detrimental.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot